The House

Conservatives focused on unity, says Candice Bergen

The Conservative Party will put the emphasis on unity going forward following Andrew Scheer resignation announcement, said Opposition House Leader Candice Bergen.
Conservative MP Candice Bergen asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The Conservative Party will put the emphasis on unity going forward following Andrew Scheer resignation announcement, said Opposition House Leader Candice Bergen.

Scheer called for party unity in his resignation speech in the House of Commons this week, and Bergen said she's determined to make sure pre-existing cracks in the party don't reappear.

"We didn't want to see those divides happen again and I think Andrew has done a really good job keeping us together. And I know ... I'm going to work very hard to to keep that together as well," she told The House.

A mountain of calls for Scheer's resignation from party insiders started piling up almost immediately after the Conservatives lost the election, which was widely regarded as one they could win.

Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen reacts to Andrew Scheer's resignation. 6:38

Bergen said those comments hurt the party.

"It certainly wasn't helpful and they really have done done damage in a lot of ways."

One of those calling for Scheer's resignation was Jenni Byrne, the former deputy chief of staff to Stephen Harper.

She told The House she was only saying publicly what was being said privately in party circles: that Scheer wasn't going to be able to win the next election.

"The last election, the expectations for the Conservative Party for us to do very well were high," Byrne said, adding that people were troubled by the negative result.

"It was a expectation that was communicated by the campaign. Andrew himself said that we were going to win a majority."

Conservative strategist and deputy chief of staff to former prime minister Stephen Harper Jenni Byrne reacts to Andrew Scheer's resignation. 3:27

Both women agreed the next leader will have to communicate the Conservative message more effectively and broaden the party's appeal

"I think that what Conservative members are gonna be looking for is who is going to be poised to beat Justin Trudeau," Byrne said. 

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